TEWKSBURY — The Board of Selectmen reorganized as a result of the June 16 local town election. Current Board of Selectman chairperson Jay Kelly was elected to another three year term. Reorganization is customary for boards after local elections.
“I’ll take the chairman hat off, and we’ll take all the hats off, and we start fresh,” Kelly said.
Kelly called for nominations for chair of the board and Mark Kratman said, “I’ve been on this board for five years. I think we have two women that have worked very well with this board (and) I think at this time I would like to see a woman take charge of this office.”
He then nominated Annemarie Stronach to be chair, and stipulated that if Stronach was not willing to accept the nomination, he would then like to nominate Jayne Wellman to be chair.
Kratman reflected after the meeting: “I nominated Annemarie because I respect her as the selectman she is. I think she’s done wonderful things in the community, and I thought it was time to show that respect and give her the honor of being chair. I did the same thing for Jayne because of her involvement in the community. If there’s something going on, she’s there. I want to show them the respect they deserve.”
Wellman later remarked, “I thought it was great that Mark nominated Annemarie and myself. I appreciated the nomination and viewed it as a vote of confidence from my colleague on the board.”
Wellman seconded the motion on Stronach. As the meeting was virtual, Kelly took a roll call vote: Brian Dick voted no and Wellman voted yes. Stronach thanked Kratman for his confidence in her, but declined the chairmanship, voting no.
“Whether it is a woman or a man who serves on this board, I think that we all put forward equally, and I don’t think we need to be led by a gender. I totally appreciate that sentiment... unfortunately, I know myself well enough to know that I am not in a position where I will be able to give this the effort that I would have to put into this.”
Stronach voted no. Kratman voted yes.
“I think she’d be a great chairman,” he started, before Kelly said, “I think you’ve said your piece, my man” and voted no.
Kelly asked for a new motion. Dick nominated Kelly to serve as chair again; seconded by Stronach, the motion passed 5-0.
“I’m very humbled and very honored,” Kelly said.
This will be his third year serving as chair.
“I’m the type of person, I wasn’t looking for it,” he said. “What else can you say except thank you. It’s humbling to lead a community and a board.”
When asked by the Town Crier whether he would accept a nomination for a fourth term as chair next year, he said, “I’m always open for everything but this is where the cards landed. I’ll just go with a clear open mind,” mentioning his philosophy of overcommunication and incorporating both board and community feedback.
Kelly called for nominations for the vice chair. Kratman nominated Wellman to be vice chair. Kelly called for a second, but no second was made so the motion failed.
Stronach nominated Dick to serve as vice chair. Kelly called for a second, and upon hearing no seconds, seconded the motion himself. Dick was approved 5-0.
Kelly called for nominations for the clerk position. Dick nominated Stronach to be clerk, seconded by Kratman. Stronach was approved 5-0.